A Turret's Life is a first-person arcade shooter/tower defence game for PC and VR where you are the tower defending an area against the endless onslaught of attacking robots and combining overpowered modules that can be traded as crypto-backed items.
For this blog, I was suggested to talk a bit more in detail about how the player is rewarded in game with the modules.
When developing the game, it is very easy to forget that no one knows what is going on inside my head even though I somehow assume it haha. So, I hope to elucidate you on the module reward design 😊
When the player starts a new game, they always start with a basic bare-bones turret. I like the idea of the player starting from scratch each time since it lets the player explore different combinations they might not have otherwise. Personally, in video games in general, I enjoy starting from the beginning of the games the most, where each little upgrade you make is more impactful and fresh.
Anyhow, the enemy attack waves start off easy for the player to plan out how they want to develop their turret, but get tougher on each succession. When the player destroys all of the attackers, the wave will end. Some levels will just be timed based as well. Regardless, the player will be rewarded when they win the wave, and get to choose two modules for their turret. One module type will boost the stats of an existing part of their turret, like increasing bullet damage, but is not a unique module itself. The player can stack these module types to no limit. The other module type is the main type of module and contains the base stats and abilities.
The modules are randomly selected from the player’s Enjin wallet. This adds an external deck-building strategy like in card games where the player will try to store their favourite modules and sell or trade the rest. Now, there is no limit to how many modules the player can store, but if they have a tonne of modules the odds of a good module being selected go down; thus, it is in the player’s interest to have a smaller but more catered module set.
If the player does not like the selected module, they may reroll up to 3 times to get a more suitable one. In the future, some perpetual rewards may increase the number of re-rolls the player has. The player then can optionally choose to replace the existing module with the newly selected one.
This module upgrade system is meant to be a balance between player skill in strategizing the modules they want through the deck-building, as well as a good bit of random fun. Moreover, it is especially meant to be very fast paced, where the player can upgrade their module and start the next round quickly. This is especially important if the game ever gets placed in arcades where people pay by the minute.
Originally, I had really liked the idea of a much more complex and slower crafting system where the player’s turret was persistent throughout the game. Whenever they wanted, could change their turret and customize it. The customization had no constraints, and the player could place the different modules in any way that connected them to each other on a grid structure. I am personally still quite intrigued by this idea but it has three major pitfalls that led me away from using it.
First, this system is significantly more complicated to implement. Not only are the usual modules needed, but special modules just for connecting to one another are required.
Second, trying to teach this to players and developing the user interface would be a nightmare!
Third, I want the game to be very fast-paced, where players can play a round or two before running off to work – that sort of thing – and this system does not fit that model.
One of the hardest things game developers must do is “kill their babies”. Most of the time, for various reasons, we must remove features we loved and fantasized about seeing work in the game, but we do so for the greater good of the game as a whole (or so we tell ourselves when we cry to sleep each night haha).
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